Saturday, February 13, 2010
One thing I liked about the Army was the functional clothing. I wore my fatigue jacket for years after I got out. It had big pockets, a zip-in liner and a draw string to tighten it at the bottom. I also liked the jungle fatigues, which are very similar to the cargo pants I wear to this day. The jungle boots were comfortable, breathed well, and had good grip on the soles. And in the Army, you always wore some kind of head cover. When I moved to Oregon in 1970, I was pleased to find that functional clothing was in. It seemed everyone was involved in outdoor activities like hiking, biking, mountain climbing, and skiing, and wore outdoor clothing everywhere at anytime. I felt protected and in harmony with my environment by wearing functional clothing. We now live in the Sonoran Desert, which is lush and alive with all sorts of plants and animals. The sun is intense and relentless. I notice some of the retirees here are adapting to the desert climate. The other day I saw an older woman wearing a huge cowboy hat. I ran into her again in the hardware store. She was looking at paint samples and the big hat rested comfortably on her back held by a string that was attractively gathered in front by a turquoise bolo. I thought "very cool--this person has transformed into a desert dweller". Most of the retirees, especially of the snowbird variety, appear to be more of your summertime barbecue, drinks- on-the-patio type of dweller. Their time down here is like a long summer vacation. Too many of them don't protect themselves from the sun. When they go to social functions, especially church, fashion trumps function every time. They stand outside, after the function, and there isn't a piece of functional clothing within miles. By contrast, the people we meet on the hiking trails have adapted to this climate by wearing hats, sunglasses and light protective clothing. Maybe that's the difference, those who venture out into the desert and those who don't. I am still adapting to our new desert home and striving to become one of the desert dwellers.